COO VERDURA & BOARD MEMBER OF WOMEN’S VOICES FOR CHANGE
By content editorial director photographer
So the story goes, on her 90th birthday, Babs Simpson, a former Fashion Editor at Vogue, wore all of the Verdura pieces she owned. “That’s what I aspire to be. It’s all about the jewelry,” said Colleen Caslin, COO of Verdura, the American, international, ﬁne jewelry ﬁrm. “To enjoy jewelry every day. Jewelry allows you to create your own style. Tone it up, or tone it down, but no matter what age, we should have fun with it.”
There aren’t many women who don’t fade into the background when wearing a brooch made with four rubies, 59 diamonds, 46 seed pearls and a Portuguese coin from 1780, but Colleen Caslin is no shrinking violet. Neither is Verdura’s Fifth Avenue salon, overlooking Central Park. Its plush walls are lined with history: breathtaking jeweled pieces designed and created for the most famous style icons in the world.
“MOST WOMEN, WHEN THEY HIT A CERTAIN POINT IN THEIR LIVES, ARE EITHER EMPOWERED AND HAVE FUN WITH THEIR LIFE AND ARE NOT AFRAID TO CHANGE AND PUSH BOUNDARIES, OR THEY BECOME COMPLACENT…”
Verdura’s elegant designs transcend time. In addition to the New York salon, Verdura is available from select retail partners, including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Betteridge, Obsidian in London and Mindham Fine Jewelry in Toronto. Founded in 1939, by Sicilian Duke Fulco di Verdura, the company created the bejeweled Maltese Cross cuff bracelets worn day and night, on each wrist, by Coco Chanel; the Curb Link bracelet, a favorite of Greta Garbo, Princess Diana and fashion designer, Carolina Herrera, who wears hers with the Curb Link Bracelet watch.
“Verdura deﬁnes quintessential luxury,” said Caslin. “Verdura jewelry are timeless designs.”
From an early age, Colleen Caslin spent a great deal of time in museums. A graduate of Georgetown University, she studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “I was studying business, marketing and communications, while working at Tiffany & Company, where I developed this love affair with jewelry.” Early in her career, her passion for stones led her to receive her certiﬁcation in gemology.
“I’ve been very blessed to work with some of the internationally renowned jewelry designers and creative directors, interfacing with fashion designers who have a global presence. My world and taste levels evolved due to a global exposure to tastemakers, Hollywood icons and stylists. Working in product development, marketing and operations opened up unlimited possibilities. Who gets to dress the Oscar winners at the Academy Awards that resulted in a grand slam? As a result, your taste is honed to higher levels.
“A pivotal point in my style evolution was living and working abroad, especially in Paris, on Place Vendôme for Chaumet. French women have this inherent sense of style, mixing fabrics and materials. That had a profound impact on me. It was all about accessorizing. Jewelry is one of the accessories which can change an entire wardrobe.
“Most women, when they reach a certain point in their lives, are empowered and truly embrace their life. They aren’t afraid to change and push boundaries, or they become complacent, and there’s not the desire, or the theater in their daily life. Being comfortable in your own skin and not basing your feelings on someone else’s attitude is important.”